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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Swine Flu Fears Inundate UCSF Cafeteria With Sugar-Laden Kids

Posted By on Thu, Feb 18, 2010 at 3:25 PM

click to enlarge Get Me Out Of This Cafeteria!
  • Get Me Out Of This Cafeteria!
Hundreds of kids have found themselves stranded in the cafeteria and lobby areas of the University of California at San Francisco Medical Center since the teaching hospital in November instituted a policy barring children under 16 from visiting patients, the facility's food service director said.

The kid ban was meant to limit the spread of H1N1 virus, which had been infecting some patients and staff. But many out-of-town hospital visitors brought kids anyway, leaving them to while away the hours watching orderlies wolf down chicken vindaloo and pea curry.

"When we rolled that policy out, there was certainly a learning curve," explained UCSF food services director Dan Henroid. "Some people were traveling a significant distance and just didn't get the word."

Henroid responded to the idle kid crisis with another new policy: free Jell-O pudding.

click to enlarge How About Some Jell-O and Sugared Milk, Little One?
  • How About Some Jell-O and Sugared Milk, Little One?

"We instituted basically giving out gift certificates in effect to the café, where people can hang out in the event they need to bring a child, because they didn't have child care, or something like that," said Henroid, who says he's distributed 250 gift cards thus far.

How much?

Five bucks her kid, Henroid answered, adding "We have pretty reasonable prices, and we can stretch that pretty far."

Investigative reporters, we pulled up today's this week's menus, which feature adult-friendly items such ginger beef, dijon salmon, and cauliflower pea curry.

What kid's going to eat that?

"We actually have quite a few kid-friendly options, like Jell-O pudding and Horizon milk," Henroid said, in reference to a brand of sugar-fortified milk.

Stick kids in a room for hours and fill them up with sugar: Those are the kind of doctors orders we like to see.

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Matt Smith


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